KOCHI: For hospital authorities and police in Kochi, piling up unidentified bodies in mortuaries is causing many problems. According to officials, over 100 unidentified bodies were handled at the Ernakulam General Hospital, mortuary alone in the past one year.
“We get at least 20-30 unidentified bodies each month. Most of them are either found on railway tracks or floating on water bodies in and around the city. We preserve such bodies for weeks or months before burial. Some bodies come in decomposed condition, and it is hard to keep them here,” an official at General Hospital said.
According to police, identifying such bodies is a Herculean task. “In some cases, we manage to recover details from the articles found on the body — letters, debit/credit cards or other identity proofs. Later, with the help of DNA tests, we manage to confirm the identity,” said a police officer.
However, even DNA tests have limitations.
“For conducting a DNA test, we need information about the parents of the deceased. In 60 per cent cases, we are unable to track such details,” he said.
For future reference, however, the District Crime Records Bureau maintains a record of fingerprints and viscera of the deceased person.
“These are maintained in case we have to launch a probe into the death later. In some cases, bodies are used for medical studies. We get reports from other states when unidentified bodies are found there. In cities like Bengaluru, over 1,000 such cases are reported annually,” he said.